|Publication number||US7008192 B2|
|Application number||US 10/154,125|
|Publication date||Mar 7, 2006|
|Filing date||May 23, 2002|
|Priority date||May 23, 2002|
|Also published as||US20030219340|
|Publication number||10154125, 154125, US 7008192 B2, US 7008192B2, US-B2-7008192, US7008192 B2, US7008192B2|
|Original Assignee||Minka Lighting, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (22), Non-Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (14), Classifications (8), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The field of the present invention relates to fans, and in particular ceiling fans.
A typical ceiling fan will include a down rod assembly suspended from the ceiling with a motor shaft connected to a lower portion of the down rod assembly. A motor body rotates about the motor shaft. A motor housing that surrounds the motor may be secured to either the motor shaft or the down rod assembly, which is stationary. Blade mounting arms are connected to the motor body and extend out of an opening of the motor housing or below the motor housing. A hub is attached to the motor shaft below the fan blades and fan blade arms. U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,250,885 and 6,354,801, issued to Gajewski and commonly assigned with this invention, are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
The motor housing in a typical ceiling encloses the motor. And typical ceiling fans require three or more screws connecting each fan blade to a blade arm. Thus, assembly of the ceiling fan is cumbersome and time consuming. The greater the number of blades the longer the assembly time. And the screws may become loosened from vibration of running the fan. Additionally, there are a variety of reasons for removing fan blades from a fan hub portion, including bringing the hub portion in for repair or replacing broken fan blades or for cleaning. Thus, there has been a need for easy installation and replacement of fan blades. Prior art attempts have not proved to be entirely successful.
It is an object of the invention to provide a fan that is easy to assembly. Another object is to provide a fan that is easy to disassemble.
An object of the invention is to provide a fan that, in at least one embodiment comprises a housing, wherein at least a portion of the housing rotates with the fan blades. A further objective is to provide for inserting blades into the housing. An alternate objective is to provide a housing that does not rotate with the blades. A further objective is to rotate the blades beneath a motor housing.
An object of the invention is to provide means for attaching the blades to one or both of the motor housing or the motor. A further objective is to position, at least a portion of, the attachment means in the housing. Yet a further objective is to attach the blades, at least in part, with a releasable engagement.
Another object of the invention is to position the releasable engagement in the housing while providing for easy assembly of the fan. A further objective is to also provide for easy disassembly of the fan although the releasable engagement is positioned in the housing.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide a fan kit comprising easy assembly components. A further objective is to provide replacement components that may be easily assembled with original components or other replacement components.
Yet a further objective is to provide a fan that may be customized by a user. The user may, for example, want to update selected components of the fan to match a new room décor without having to purchase an entirely new fan.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those of skill in the art.
A ceiling fan comprising a motor having a motor shaft connected to a down rod assembly and a motor body which rotates about the motor shaft. The phrases motor body and motor shaft are intended to be broadly construed, unless indicated otherwise, such that the motor shaft is a stationary component of the motor and the motor body is a component of the motor that rotates relative the motor shaft. In one embodiment, a blade mounting arm comprising a sleeve is connected to the motor body. A fan blade is positioned in the sleeve. And a releasable engagement secures the blade in the sleeve.
The fan may comprise a motor housing rotatable with and connected to the motor body, wherein the motor housing comprises a slot. The fan blade is inserted into the slot. The releasable engagement is preferably positioned in the motor housing to automatically engage the fan blade when the fan blade is properly positioned to the slot. The fan blade is thus secured to a hub portion of the fan. The hub portion should be construed broadly to mean the general central portion of the fan. And the phrase hub portion is not intended to require that it include the stationary hub.
Accordingly, one method of installing the fan blade comprises aligning the fan blade with the sleeve connected to the motor body and inserting the fan blade into the sleeve. The fan blade is positioned into the sleeve to allow a releasable engagement to automatically secure the fan blade in the sleeve when the fan blade is properly positioned in the sleeve.
Removal of the fan blade is conveniently achieved with use of the releasable engagement. A method of removing a fan blade comprises locating the releasable engagement that is securing the fan blade in position and applying a force to release the releasable engagement. Then the fan blade is withdrawn from the hub portion of the fan.
In a preferred embodiment, a catch on the releasable engagement is pulled by inserting a tool into the housing. In some embodiments the tool is inserted into the motor housing to catch a catch of the releasable engagement and pull it, thus releasing the releasable engagement.
For some applications, the invention encompasses a kit where fan components are, adapted to be connected via, for example, releasable engagement. For example, a kit comprising fan blades comprising a releasable engagement where the fan blades are adapted to interact with a hub portion of a ceiling fan. Alternatively, a central hub portion comprising a releasable engagement is adapted to interact with one or more fan blades adapted to interact with the releasable engagement.
Other aspects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon studying this disclosure.
In the drawings:
The invention is further described with reference to the illustrated embodiment. The invention is not, however, limited to the described illustrated embodiment.
The ceiling fan 10 is connected to a down rod assembly 12 that is suspended from the ceiling. The ceiling fan 10 comprises a motor 14 having a motor shaft 16 in a motor body 18. The motor body 18 rotates relative to the motor shaft 16. A housing 20 is stationary and is typically connected to the motor shaft 16 or the down rod 12. A motor housing 22 is connected to the motor body 18 and rotates with the motor body 18. Blade mounting arms 24 are connected to the motor body 18 and rotate with it. The blade mounting arms 24 may be positioned in the motor housing 22. An alternative position for the blade mounting arms 24 may be below the motor housing 22. Fan blades 26, 28 and 30 are preferably connected to the blade mounting arms 24 to rotate with the motor body 18. The fan blades may additionally or alternatively be secured to the motor housing 22 that rotates with the motor body 18.
For simplicity, connection of the fan blades will be described for one blade only.
For some applications, the fan blade 26 may be connected to the sleeve 36 with a releasable engagement 40.
In the embodiment depicted in
In the embodiment shown in
In alternative embodiments the releasable engagement is released by applying a pushing force. It will also be apparent to those skilled in the art that the releasable engagement 40 need not be mounted on the sleeve 36 and may alternatively be mounted on, or internal to, the fan blade 26. In one such embodiment, the tool 58 would be used to apply a pushing force, rather than a pulling force, to release the releasable engagement 40. The force 60 applied may be at any convenient angle relative to the fan blade 26 that is appropriate for the particular embodiment of the releasable engagement 40 utilized.
The releasable engagement 40 is preferably biased to automatically engage an aperture 62 of the fan blade 26 when the fan blade 26 is properly positioned. In the particular embodiment illustrated in
In some applications the housing 20 comprises one or more access vents 68 to allow the tool 58 to contact the releasable engagement 40. With reference to
To facilitate engagement between the fan blade 26 and the motor body 18, the releasable engagement 40 comprises a slide 70 that automatically opens the releasable engagement 40 as the fan blade 26 is being inserted into the sleeve 36. In the embodiment depicted in
To facilitate positioning the fan blade 26 in the sleeve 36, the sleeve 36 has an inner wall 72 to indicate when the fan blade 26 is inserted far enough into the sleeve 36. It will be understood that the inner wall 72 need not enclose the fan blade 26, i.e., be a wall across an entire side of the sleeve 36. Preferably the fan blade 26 comprises edges 74 and 76 for interacting with edges 78 and 80 of the sleeve 36 to further facilitate proper positioning of the fan blade 26 in the sleeve 36.
A sleeve 36 need not surround the fan blade 26, but preferably the sleeve 36 has members, e.g., sides, webs, slates, sufficient to facilitate positioning of the fan blade 26 and reduce wobble of the fan blade 26 when the motor body 18 is rotated. Furthermore, for some embodiments a sleeve is not required at all. For example, the releasable engagement 40 may be positioned in the motor housing 22 to automatically engage the fan blade 26 when the fan blade 26 is properly positioned in the slot 32. The edges 74 and 76 may then interact with the slot 32 and the motor housing 22 to reduce wobble position the fan blade 26. Collectively, or independently, the sleeve 36 and the slot 32 act as an opening for receiving the fan blade 26 and supporting and stabilizing the fan blade 26.
Typically, the fan 10 will be sold as a kit wherein the releasable engagement 40 substantially eases assembly by the user. Due to the simplicity of removing and installing fan blades for the use of the releasable engagement, it is envisioned that fan blades 26–30 and any hub portion 82 may be sold separately. The hub portion 82 may, for example, comprise one or more of the following components: fan 14, motor shaft 16, motor body 18, blade mounting arm 24, sleeve 36, housing 20, motor housing 22 and releasable engagement 40. As discussed above, the fan blade 26 may comprise the releasable engagement 40 for interacting with the hub portion 82, thereby securing the fan blades 26 to the hub portion 82. A user may thereby customize the fan 10, or later change the fan 10 decor, to match decor of a room.
While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Each of these embodiments, and obvious variations thereof, is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||416/206, 416/220.00A|
|International Classification||F04D29/34, F04D25/08|
|Cooperative Classification||F04D29/34, F04D25/088|
|European Classification||F04D25/08D, F04D29/34|
|May 23, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MINKA LIGHTING, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HIDALGO, ROLANDO;REEL/FRAME:012934/0398
Effective date: 20020521
|Oct 3, 2006||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Sep 9, 2009||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
|Sep 9, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jul 2, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8